ORLANDO, FL — The Florida Commission on the Status of Women today inducted the state’s 100th member into Florida Women’s Hall of Fame at a distinguished ceremony in Orlando as a part of the Future of Florida Forum. Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Hall of Fame honored 2017 inductees Mary Lou Baker (Pinellas County), Kathleen “Scotty” Culp (Satellite Beach), and Katherine Fernandez Rundle (Miami-Dade County) for their significant contributions to the citizens of Florida.
“Our partnership with the Chamber Foundation, for the first time this year, is strong evidence of our belief in the critical importance of collaboration to further advance, recognize and celebrate the important work being accomplished by the citizens of our state,” said Commission Chair Patti W. Hamilton. “It is an important turning point in the Women’s Hall of Fame program as we celebrate our 35th year.”
The ceremony included an evening of honor with remarks from Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis; and Commissioners from the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. Video greetings were given by Women’s Hall of Fame member Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Joined by their family and friends, inductees were celebrated with commemorative videos and remarks about the legacy of accomplishments and the contributions they made to the lives of people across Florida.
The evening was anchored with an induction ceremony led by Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis where inductees were awarded with replicas of the plaques that will be placed on the Hall of Fame wall in the Florida Capitol Rotunda, as well as an American flag that was flown over the United States Capitol in their honor.
“Florida’s history is rich with female leaders who have blazed the trail for future generations,” said CFO Patronis. “I was proud to help celebrate three new additions to the Women’s Hall of Fame, recognizing three pioneers who have made landmark contributions to our state.”
Hall of Fame members were selected by Governor Rick Scott from a group of ten nominees selected by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.
Since its inception in 1982, the Hall of Fame has recognized and honored Florida women who, through their lives and work, have made significant contributions to the improvement of life for all citizens of the state. Some of the notable inductees include former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, singer Gloria Estefan, internationally-honored tennis athletes Chris Evert and Althea Gibson, Pilot Betty Skelton Frankman, Bethune-Cookman College founder Mary McLeod Bethune, Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Carrie Meek, Tillie Fowler and Ruth Bryan Owen, Florida Trend Publisher Lynda Keever, and Everglades advocate and suffragist Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
“It is a great honor to join so many giants of Florida life, like U. S. Attorney General Janet Reno, Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince and award-winning bilingual Journalist Helen Aguirre Ferré and to feel that your contributions, like theirs, have made a difference in the lives of the people of this state,” said Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney. “Every woman in the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame represents someone who cast aside so many of the barriers of daily life and moved us forward. I am privileged and humbled by this recognition.”
For the first time since its establishment, the Hall of Fame ceremony was held as a part of the 2017 Florida Chamber Foundation’s annual Future of Florida Forum. The centralized location and expanded celebration presented a greater opportunity to recognize the many ways that women’s history has become woven into the fabric of our state and national story in a more meaningful way. With the support of the Florida Chamber Foundation, the event was streamed live for audiences around the state and attended by some of the leading voices in Florida government and business.
“Partnerships matter to securing Florida’s future and we are proud to host the Women’s Hall of Fame during a milestone year. The honorees at this event are incredible examples of Floridians who made, and continue to make, Florida’s long-term future their focus,” said Tony Carvajal, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation.
This year’s inductees will join current members on the walls of the Florida Capitol. Visitors can view all of the Hall of Fame members immortalized on plaques in the Capitol Rotunda or on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women’s website, www.FCSW.net.